Clayton Kershaw Rumors

Kershaw Open To Talking Extension

The Dodgers have spent aggressively to acquire players from other organizations this summer, but at some point in the coming months they could turn their attention to a player they drafted and developed themselves: reigning Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw. The left-hander told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that he would consider a long-term extension if the Dodgers wish to discuss one. 

"Yeah, sure, I'm always open to talks," Kershaw said. "I've had a great time here. I love the guys and I love everything about L.A."

Last offseason the sides agreed to a two-year, $19MM deal that covers Kershaw’s first two arbitration seasons (2012-13). They discussed the possibility of a four-year deal with a fifth year option before settling on two years, according to Hernandez.  The 24-year-old Hendricks Sports client will be eligible for arbitration one more time following the 2013 season and eligible for free agency following the 2014 season.

Dodgers GM Ned Colletti said in May that he doesn’t intend to negotiate a longer deal with Kershaw during the regular season. Since then, the Dodgers have spent more than $430MM in player acquisitions, Hernandez writes. It won’t be surprising if Guggenheim Baseball Management, the team’s new ownership group, works aggressively to keep Kershaw in place long-term.

Kershaw has followed up his Cy Young season with a similarly dominant year. He leads National League pitchers with 186 2/3 innings, 183 strikeouts and two shutouts. His ERA has risen but remains under 3.00 at 2.84 and he continues to limit walks (2.1 BB/9). At this point in Kershaw’s career, he seems well-positioned to obtain a contract worth in excess of $100MM.


Rosenthal On Greinke, Hamels, Kershaw

In the latest Hot Corner video, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal gives his take on three of baseball's top aces…

  • The likelihood of Zack Greinke being dealt "probably is growing," though the Brewers are still on the fringes on the NL Central race.  Rosenthal doesn't think the Brewers will be able to afford re-signing Greinke this winter and their best-case scenario if they do trade him would be to bring back a big prospect, as the Mets did last summer when they acquired Zack Wheeler from the Giants in exchange for Carlos Beltran.
  • Ryan Howard and Roy Halladay won't be back until after the All-Star break and Chase Utley just made his season debut, so Rosenthal says the Phillies might "wait until the last minute, perhaps" to decide whether they'll be buyers or sellers at the trade deadlineCole Hamels and Shane Victorino, both pending free agents, would be Philly's biggest trade chips if the team did decide to look ahead to 2013.
  • There is "no urgency" for the Dodgers to pursue a longer contract extension with Clayton Kershaw.  The two sides already agreed to a two-year, $19MM deal in February and Kershaw isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2014 campaign.  Dodgers GM Ned Colletti said last month that the team wasn't going to negotiate a longer deal with Kershaw during the season.  Rosenthal notes that while the Dodgers may re-open talks in the offseason, it can't hurt to exercise a bit more caution when locking up pitchers, noting that the Giants are probably thankful they didn't extend Tim Lincecum last winter given Lincecum's struggles.

No In-Season Talks For Kershaw, Dodgers

The Dodgers don’t have plans to discuss a long-term contract extension with defending NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw — at least for now. GM Ned Colletti told Bill Shaikin of the LA Times that "nothing will happen” during the season (Twitter link).

Kershaw recently signed a two-year, $19MM deal that covers his first two arbitration seasons (2012-13). The 24-year-old Hendricks Sports client will be eligible for arbitration one more time following the 2013 season and eligible for free agency following the 2014 season. Guggenheim Baseball Management recently gained control of the Dodgers and may look to extend the left-hander’s stay in Los Angeles with a long-term extension. Kershaw figures to set ask for a $100MM contract if he has another strong season.



Los Angeles Links: Kershaw, Fielder, Cantu, Phillies

At least one of the five groups bidding to buy the Dodgers has asked about the possibility of selling the naming rights to Dodger Stadium, reports Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times.  Naming rights are commonplace in sports, but as Shaikin notes in his piece, it would be a poor PR move for a new owner to immediately change the name of one of baseball's most historic parks.

Here are a few more items from both the Dodgers and the Angels…

  • Clayton Kershaw was "less than thrilled" about making just $500K last season, which may be part of the reason the Dodgers signed their ace to a two-year, $19MM deal, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.  The Dodgers wanted to sign Kershaw to a four-year extension that would have covered the southpaw's first free agent season.
  • Heyman also calls Matt Kemp's eight-year contract extension with the team "possibly the best financial move anyone made this winter."
  • The Dodgers made an offer to Prince Fielder at the Winter Meetings for a four-year contract worth an average annual value of less than that of Alex Rodriguez, Ned Colletti tells Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (Twitter link).  Rodriguez earns an AAV of $27.5MM on his current Yankees contract but one would think that L.A.'s offer couldn't have been much lower than that, given that they were just offering four years.
  • Also from Bowden (via Twitter), Fielder's agent Scott Boras said Colletti's recruiting meeting with Fielder was the best he's seen in 30 years.
  • Jorge Cantu hopes to be traded to a team with corner infield needs if he can't make the Angels' roster, reports Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles.  Cantu has the option of opting out of his contract with L.A. if he's in the minors on May 1.  He has also considered taking "a couple of months off this summer" as his girlfriend is due to give birth to their first child in June. 
  • If the Angels were to offer one of their backup infielders (Alberto Callaspo or Maicer Izturis) to the Phillies, MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez speculates that the Halos could look for Kyle Kendrick or Joe Blanton back in such a trade.  In Blanton's case, the Phils would have to cover a big chunk of his $8.5MM salary for this season.
  • Earlier today we covered the hot-stove highlights of Arte Moreno's recent interview with GQ.

Dodgers Notes: Ownership, Kemp, Kershaw

To nobody's surprise, Vin Scully topped a recent Fangraphs poll that asked readers to rate each club's TV broadcast crew.  As Fangraphs' Carson Cistulli put it, "Vin Scully has been an excellent broadcaster since that time in our nation’s history when men wore fedoras unironically."  2012 will mark Scully's 63rd season calling Dodgers baseball.

Some more news about L.A.'s blue team…

  • Jared Kushner has dropped his bid to buy the Dodgers, reports Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.  Kushner, the owner and publisher of the New York Observer, withdrew despite an invitation to either restructure his bid or to join another of the seven remaining groups vying to buy the club from Frank McCourt.
  • Matt Kemp had no problems looking past the Dodgers' ownership issues to sign his long-term extension with the team, reports MLB.com's Ken Gurnick.  "This is where I wanted to be," Kemp said. "It happened kind of fast. They started talking about the numbers, and, 'Oh my God, for real?' It was kind of cool. It was a fun process, but I also had to ask myself, 'Am I really in this position right now?' All I could think about was being a sixth-round pick, not sure if I even wanted to play baseball, and now I was getting a long-term deal. For me it was a dream."
  • Also from Gurnick's piece, Clayton Kershaw said his recent two-year extension "was just the terms and the years," and had nothing to do with any concerns about the ownership sale.  "As far as I'm concerned, I can play baseball for two years, and I'm good with that," Kershaw said.  "You've just got to perform no matter what the contract is."  Kershaw's two-year contract means he will still be eliglble for arbitration following the 2013 season and free agency after 2014.
  • You can keep up with all of MLBTR's Dodgers coverage on our Dodger-centric Facebook and RSS pages, and by following us on Twitter at @mlbtrdodgers.

Quick Hits: Kershaw, Moreno, Cespedes, Joyce

Here are a few items from around the Majors as we head into Sunday…

  • The first priority for the new Dodgers owner should be to sign Clayton Kershaw to a long-term extension, says ESPN's Buster Olney in a video blog.  Kershaw's recent two-year contract only covers his first two arbitration years, putting him on track for free agency (at age 26) after the 2014 season.  "The entire landscape of baseball would be all over Kershaw as a free agent," says Olney, who believes the Dodgers should offer Kershaw something akin to a five-year, $100-120MM deal to lock him up.
  • Arte Moreno expects the Angels to be "a highly competitive team" and discussed several other topics about the upcoming season with MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez.
  • As part of a piece about the risks of signing Yoenis Cespedes, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald explores how other heavily-hyped Cuban stars have been the victim of high expectations in the Major Leagues.
  • Rays outfielder Matt Joyce has changed agents and is now represented by the ACES firm, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.  Joyce, a possible extension candidate, will be arbitration-eligible for the first time next winter and is under team control through 2015.
  • Asdrubal Cabrera's arbitration-avoiding deal with the Indians prompted Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer to examine the possibility of signing Cabrera to a multiyear deal.  Last month, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes looked at what a Cabrera extension could cost the Tribe.
  • From that same piece, Hoynes says that the Indians' lack of guaranteed contracts past 2012 is probably not a sign that the Dolan family is "streamlining the franchise" as a prelude to a possible sale of the club.
  • Four of top seven prospects in the Athletics' system came via the Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez trades, writes MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo.

Dodgers, Kershaw To Sign Two-Year Deal

The Dodgers announced that they have avoided arbitration with Clayton Kershaw, agreeing to terms on a two-year contract. The deal is worth $19MM, Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times tweets.

Clayton Kershaw - Dodgers

The contract buys out Kershaw's first two seasons of arbitration eligibility, but doesn't delay his free agency. He will be arbitration eligible for the final time following the 2013 season and eligible for free agency following the 2014 season. The left-handed Hendricks Sports client obtains a $500K signing bonus, $7.5MM in 2012 and $11MM in 2013, Hernandez tweets.

The Dodgers had submitted a $6MM offer via arbitration, and Kershaw (pictured) countered with $10MM ($3MM shy of the figure Tim Lincecum submitted as a first-time arbitration eligible player two offseasons ago). The Dodgers have now signed all of their arbitration eligible players for 2012, as MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows.

Kershaw won the 2011 NL Cy Young Award after putting together a phenomenal season. The 2006 first rounder posted a 2.28 ERA with 9.6 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 233 1/3 innings, leading the National League in the traditional Triple Crown categories (wins, ERA and strikeouts). Roy Halladay was the lone NL pitcher to produce more WAR than Kershaw's 6.8 in 2011, according to FanGraphs.

Lincecum and the Giants and Cole Hamels and the Phillies also avoided arbitration with short-term extensions that covered early seasons of arbitration eligibility. Lincecum obtained $23MM for his first two seasons of arbitration eligibility, and Hamels obtained $11MM for the same chunk of his career (both Lincecum and Hamels were super two players; Kershaw is not a super two). The number to beat for first-time eligible starters going year to year still sits in the $4.35MM range (Dontrelle Willis and Jered Weaver).

Photo courtesy Icon SMI.


Arbitration Filing Numbers

Many players avoided arbitration today, but dozens of others exchanged figures with their teams in anticipation of hearings. Most cases won't go to arbitration hearings, but teams such as the Rays, Nationals, Marlins, White Sox, Blue Jays and Braves have stuck to 'file and trial' policies in the past. 

MLBTR's arbitration tracker will keep you up to date on every one of the filing numbers from around the game, but here are the highlights — players who filed for $4MM or more. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com had most of the info with MLBTR and others also contributing:


Dodgers Yet To Talk Extension With Kershaw, Ethier

The Dodgers locked up MVP candidate Matt Kemp to an eight-year, $160MM contract earlier this offseason, but they aren't close to signing any more of their core players. Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times reports (on Twitter) that the team has yet to discuss long-term contract extensions with Andre Ethier and Clayton Kershaw.

Ethier, 29, is projected to earn $10.7MM in 2012, his final trip through arbitration before becoming a free agent after next season. The two-time All-Star slumped in the power department in 2011, hitting just 11 homers while battling knee and elbow problems. He's a .291/.364/.479 career hitter, though he has struggled against left-handers (.242/.302/.359) and the advanced metrics don't love his defense.

The 23-year-old Kershaw can't become a free agent until after 2015, but signing him might be the more pressing issue for the Dodgers. Our model projects him to earn $8.4MM in 2012 thanks to his Cy Young Award, even though it will be just his first time through arbitration. The southpaw led the National League in wins (21), ERA (2.28) and strikeouts (248) last year, and in his three full seasons he owns a 2.63 ERA and 9.5 K/9 in 608 2/3 innings.

Ben Nicholson-Smith suggested a five-year, $30MM deal for Kershaw back in August 2010, but the Dodgers can forget about that now. A contract in line with the ones signed by Felix Hernandez (five years, $78MM) and Justin Verlander (five years, $80MM) before last season are more reasonable comparables.


Dodgers Seek Bat, Reliever

The latest on the Dodgers…

  • Dodgers GM Ned Colletti told MLB.com's Ken Gurnick he's looking for a position player upgrade.  The potential acquisition would be payroll neutral and has been a starter at his position.  Gurnick guesses Colletti is targeting an outfielder or first baseman and would be willing to trade James Loney.
  • Colletti apparently met Tuesday night with agents at Hendricks Sports, which represents free agent reliever Mike MacDougal as well as Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.  The Dodgers appear interested in bringing MacDougal back, while Colletti isn't sure of Kershaw's interest level in an extension.
  • Dodgers assistant GM Logan White interviewed for the Astros GM position, reported MLB.com's Brian McTaggart yesterday in case you missed it.
  • The Dodgers and MLB filed a settlement in bankruptcy court yesterday, reported Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times.  Owner Frank McCourt must divest himself of the Dodgers and their stadium by April 30th, and initial bids for the team are due January 13th.  MLB will have to approve an initial small group of bidders.  McCourt has the option of keeping the parking lots around the stadium.  As part of the settlement, MLB agreed to remain neutral in the dispute between the Dodgers and FOX.  The Dodgers want to market their television rights as part of the sale, and FOX objects based on its current contract.